Skip to main content

Live coverage

Tour of California 2019: Stage 1


Welcome to the Amgen Tour of California stage 1 held in Sacramento. The men's peloton will be racing for 143km with two intermediate sprints followed by downtown city circuits.

2019 Tour of California - Preview

5 riders to watch in the Tour of California

Giro d'Italia stage 2: Pascal Ackermann wins bunch sprint




Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the opening stage of the Tour of California - from Sacramento!

The race has just started and there's already a four-rider breakaway.

It's a gorgeous day in Sacramento at 27C and full of sunshine. It's a little bit windy today, too, which could affect the racing out along the wide open roadways.


The breakaway riders have built a lead of 1:20. We will have the riders' names for you soon.


The riders in the breakaway are Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Michael Schar (CCC Team), Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk), Tyler Stites (USA National Team).


The race is almost completely flat today, and very much a race for the sprinters.


They do three circuits at the finish in Sacramento. In the past, the field has usually let a breakaway make it to the finishing circuits, and then put on a show to bring them back just in time for a bunch sprint.


There are a handful of world-class sprinters in the race today; Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Max Richeze and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Max Walscheid (Sunweb) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), just to name a few.


The gap is settling in at just over one minute as Dimension Data, Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep take up the pace-setting at the front of the peloton.


There is a USA National Team in the race this week featuring sprinters Travis McCabe and Miguel Bryon.


Our very own Pat Malach spoke with Travis at the start in Sacramento.


"It’s great to be representing the United States of America and to be riding with these young talents. I love the Tour of California. It’s a great race and a huge opportunity for us all throughout the week. I think everyone came here looking for results, so we’re definitely here to race our bikes.


"I’ve raced with Miguel Bryon a bit, and the same with Keegan (Swirbul). It’s just communication and talking, paying attention to where we all are. There are so many big teams here we won’t take responsibility.


"I think today is a great opportunity for Miguel. He was fourth here last year. It would be awesome to see him on the podium. I think we just need to stay calm and relaxed, and then when it’s go time 110 per cent."


The newly-named Team Ineos is racing at the Tour of California. Pat Malach spoke with their director Oliver Cookson, who said that they would be working for Kristoffer Halvorsen today in Sacramento.


"We’ll ride for Kristoffer today. He’s our young sprinter. He’s had his first win already this year. There are some big names here, but we’ll use the other teams and put Kristoffer in a good place to go for the win."


He also spoke to the upcoming stages, that head into the mountains on stage 2, finishing in South Lake Tahoe.


"The altitude tomorrow will be an issue, not just the amount of climbing but all day going up and up. That will sort the men from the boys tomorrow. We’ll see who has got the legs and the lungs to win this race. From then on, that’s win we’ll really define our tactics part from our sprints with Kristoffer."


While the Tour of California kicked off today, teams are also currently racing at the first Grand Tour of the season - Giro d'Italia.


The Giro started with a time trial yesterday won by Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and continued with a sprint finish on stage 2, today, won by Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).


Head to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the Giro d'Italia.


The breakaway is now at the 20km mark. They will hit the first intermediate sprint of the race in the town of Winter located at 62km into the stage.


The peloton is racing through some residential neighbourhoods. 


Riders are taking feeds from their team cars in the caravan. Officials have allowed for early feeding because of the warm weather today.


De Vreese, Stites, Planet and Schar are holding strong at 1:50, but teams are keeping them in check with Dimension Data and Deceuninck-QuickStep putting a rider or two each to set the pace.

The roads are wide open through residential areas and farm lands stretches. The pavement they're racing on now is very rough, full of potholes and chip seal. 


Another sprinter in the field who could very well end up on the podium is Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates). 


Pat Malach spoke with Jasper ahead of the stage today.



"I’m looking forward for this stage. There are multiple sprinters here, but I think the QuickStep team has a really strong team to do a good lead-out, so I think they will be the strongest in the preparation. I don’t think there will be many teams that are going to line up like them. So it depends a little bit on them."


Mark Cavendish said in California on Friday at the opening press conference that a blood test two weeks ago showed he is below the threshold for being sick with Epstein-Barr, the virus that has plagued the Dimension Data sprinter for the past two years.


Read the full story here.


Tyler Stites, who is currently in the breakaway, normally races for the trade team Aevolo. He's racing Tour of California with the USA National Team.


He's only 21 years old but has had some success this year, so far.


He was 5th overall at the Tour of the Gila and 7th overall at the Joe Martin Stage Race. He also stood on the podium in the youth competition at both events.


The stage is flat, flat, flat. There is a little bit of wind but probably not enough to cause echelons like in 2013.


Tim Declercq is riding on the front of the main field for Deceuninck-QuickStep. The team has been hugely successful this year with a total of 26 early-season wins.


91km remaining from 143km

The gap has fallen to one minute.


The big sprint teams are not giving this breakaway any leash. It's important for the sprinters here to take a victory, some of them have not won a race yet this year.

The breakaway is almost at the first intermediate sprint in Winter.


Deceuninck-QuickStep have some help from Bora-Hansgrohe and EF Education First are hovering the front, too.


81km remaining from 143km

Stites is leading the breakaway into Winter for the first sprint.


Schar has made the first jump toward the intermediate sprint line.


Schar went a little too early, as he was chased won by Stites at the line. By winning the sprint, Stites picks up 3 points and 3 bonus seconds.


De Vreese has sat up and dropped back to the main field after the sprint.


Three riders continue on; Stites, Planet and Schar. They have a 50-second lead.


Results of the intermediate sprint in Winter:


1- Tyler Stites (Team USA)

2- Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk)

3- Laurens De Vreese (Astana)




76km remaining from 143km

The leaders are now in the feedzone.


While the peloton are on flat roads today, the race heads into the mountains on stage 2 from Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe.


The GC contenders will be out to race in full force tomorrow with the likes of Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Rigoberto Uran and Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First), Brandon McNulty (Rally UHC), Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) and Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos)


Read our Tour of California preview here.



The breakaway riders' gap is still holding at 1 minute and with the roads being so flat and straight, the peloton has been able to see them the entire time.


And then there were two!


Michael Schar has gone back to the field, too. Leaving only Stites and Planet up front.


And then there were two!


Michael Schar has gone back to the field, too. Leaving only Stites and Planet up front.


There seems to be a joke in the field as John Degenkolb and his Trek-Segafredo teammates are seen laughing amongst each other.


Degenkolb will be another rider to watch for the stage win today. He's only won one race this year so far, a stage at the Tour de la Provence back in February. But more recently, he's been second at Gent-Wevelgem and Eschborn-Frankfurt, showing great form.


The peloton will head back to Sacramento, where upon crossing the finish line for the first time will see the second intermediate sprint. 


They will then race three laps of the finishing circuits located outside of the Capitol Park.


This is the 10th time Sacramento has hosted a stage of the Tour of California.


Last year, the city hosted the final stage of the race where Fernando Gaviria won the sprint in Sacramento and Egan Bernal won the overall title.




The two breakaway riders are still holding 1:20, it's stayed at that distance (for the most part) for the entire race so far. 


They are not being given too much freedom as the sprinters are itching to secure a stage win, which will also come with the first leader's jersey.


The gap has dropped by 30 seconds, but they still have a 45-second advantage. 


Retired professional Mike Sayers is directing the USA National Team this week at the Tour of California. 


Stites picked up the first intermediate sprint and will try to pick up the second intermediate sprint in Sacramento to gain both points and the most aggressive rider jersey.


There are just under 40km to go in stage 1 and the gap to the breakaway of Stites and Planet is drastically being cut by the increasingly faster speeds of the peloton looking for a bunch sprint.


Peter Sagan is surrounded by his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates but they are sitting a little further back in the bunch, as rival team Deceuninck-QuickStep take up the reins at the front.


Sagan has only won one race this season, so far, a stage at the Santos Tour Down Under. A sub-par Classics campaign ended with 4th at Milan-Sanremo and 5th at Paris-Roubaix. 


He didn't finish Amstel Gold Race or Fleche Wallonne, and he didn't start Liege-Bastogne-Liege to recover and prepare for the Tour of California.


And then there was one!


Charles Planet attacked while Tyler Stites unclipped from his pedals signifying that he was done for the day.


Planet has a 50-second advantage. 


As Planet looks over his shoulder he can see the peloton behind him.


Planet is still pushing on his pedals even though he will be caught very soon.


Unfortunately he will not be able to pick up the intermediate sprint, but he will secure the Most Courageous Rider jersey for the day.


13km remaining from 143km

And the peloton has caught Planet.


They are all back together and the race for the stage victory and the first leader's jersey will soon begin.


The field is barreling into Sacramento and onto the downtown circuits. They will first sprint for the second intermediate sprint that offers 3 points and 3 bonus seconds.


Then they will race three full laps of the circuit.


Deceuninck-QuickStep have complete control of the peloton, they are 2km from the intermediate sprint.


Jumbo-Visma is moving forward with George Bennett, perhaps looking for the time bonuses.


Intermediate sprint 2 results:

1- Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo)

2- Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe)

3- George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma)


This overall race has come down to seconds in the past, and so these intermediate sprints for bonus seconds are valuable.


Katusha-Alpecin has now moved to the front with its lead-out train for Rick Zabel.


Marcel Kittel was supposed to be racing here today, but he announced a hiatus from the sport just last week.


There is 1 lap to go.


Katusa-Alpecin still have the front of the peloton, but they are being followed by CCC Team and Deceuninck-QuickStep.


These are wide boulevard roads and so the field is fanning out wide in and out of the corners, but then being stretched into single file on the straightaways. Sunweb have taken the reins.


Sunweb have a great sprinter in Max Walscheid.


Sunweb are followed by Deceuninck-QuickStep.


They are in the final 4km of the race.


Now Team Ineos are moving forward for sprinter Kristoffer Halvorsen.


Sunweb still have control as they race around the final lap.


Sunweb are trying to maintain their lead-out speeds, but they might have gone too early, and down to three riders.


Deceuninck-QuickStep sit behind with a full team for its sprinters.


The powerful Belgian team have now moved to the front, for sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.


QuickStep are setting such a cast pace that there is no way any other team can come around them.


Team Ineos are contesting the sprint.


Peter Sagan is on the Ineos train


Sagan is sprinting


Peter Sagan wins stage 1 at the Tour of California


Travis McCabe (USA National Team) raced Peter Sagan all the way to the line and finished second.


It is Peter Sagan's 17th stage victory at the Tour of California


Tour of California stage 1 - Top 10


1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 3:14:10
2 Travis McCabe (USA) USA National Team
3 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
4 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Ineos
5 Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Owain Doull (GBr) Team Ineos
7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:04
8 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
9 Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates


General classification after stage 1


1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 3:14:00
2 Travis McCabe (USA) USA National Team 0:00:04
3 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:06
4 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Ineos 0:00:10
5 Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Owain Doull (GBr) Team Ineos
7 Tyler Stites (USA) USA National Team 0:00:11
8 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:13
9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:14
10 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates


Peter Sagan's victory has also given him the first leader's jersey of the Tour of California.


This is Sagan's second victory of the season. His first was a stage at the Santos Tour Down Under.


He had a sub-par Classics campaign that saw him drop out of the Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne, and he didn't start Liege-Bastogne-Liege to recover for the Tour of California.


He will certainly be pleased to secure the stage 1 victory here in California


Stick around and we will bring you comments directly from Peter Sagan.


Travis McCabe's second place is a big success for the US national team. He said that he doesn't classify himself as a pure sprinter, and hoped for a podium finish in one of the later stages.

But his sprint proved to rival that of Sagan's all the way to the finish line.


Peter Sagan said he was happy with his victory and his team helped him with the win.

"Congrats to my teammate [Pascal Ackermann], too, at the Giro d'Italia who also won today."


Peter Sagan:


"It is not important to have the yellow jersey, for me ... for tomorrow, but it will be important for my teammates later in the race."


Travis McCabe:


"I'm used to floating through the field and fighting for it, and today it worked out well."


Peter Sagan:


"The Tour de France is far away and it's different to sprint after 200km and climbs, compared today. We will see day-by-day how I am going. It will be much harder than today."




"I'm happy that I could get another win, and it will be nice to have a record here in California."


The Tour of California will continue tomorrow with stage 2: Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe, 214.5km.


Thank you for joining our live coverage, we hope to see you back again tomorrow!


Latest on Cyclingnews